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Obusier de 86 T Aasen

Trench artillery

Contributor :
Bernard Plumier      http://www.passioncompassion1418.com
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Location :
Czech Republic
Military Museum Zyzkov (VZU)
Coordinates : Lat : 50.08756 / Long : 14.44315
General comments on this surviving gun :

Identical items in the same location : 1
Items covered by this file : 1

The reason why this French weapon is exposed in Prague is unknown to me

Zoom on the rifle breech used as a firing mechanism

The 'Excelsior' projectile

Historic and technical information
Denomination :     86 T Aasen Origin :       ( Aasen)          

Historic context :

Nils Watersen Aasen was a Norvegian engineer born in 1877 who created before WW1 a weapon manufacture in Denmark. Since the war outbreak sold a lot of material - grenades, grenade launchers, bombs - to both France and Germany.

In 1915, the French army was searchning to increase its trench artillery weapons dotation. While its private and army engineers were developping such new weapons, France bought 1282 'mortiers Aasen de 86 mm', delivered to the front from September 1915 to February 1916.

The Aasen mortar was a simple tube integrating an old Mle 1874 rifle barrel and that could launch the Excelsior AB grenade (incendiary and smoke) and Excelsior B grenade (shrapnell grenades that was also launched by the Hachette and Boileau-Debladis mortars) with metallic fins tail. The grenade was introduced by the muzzle and the propulsive charge - a simple hunting cartridge loaded with 8, 10 or 12 grams of black powder - by the breech.

This very light mortar was very dangerous, fragile, was lacking power and not stealth at all (because of the black powder of the propulsive charge, producing a lot of smoke) will be replaced in 1917 by the new light grenade launchers, particularly the pneumatic models.

Technical data :

  • Complete description : 86 mm Aasen mortar
  • Design year : 1915
  • Calibre : 86.00 mm
  • Weight in firing position : 20 kg
  • Weight for transportation :
  • Tube length in calibres : 8.00
  • Grooves : 0 (smooth bore)
  • Projectile weight : 1350 g (Excelsior type B explosive ou Excelsior type AB au phosphore)
  • Initial speed : 55 m/s (Excelsior type B) - 50 m/s (Excelsior type AB)
  • Fire rate : 10 rounds / minute
  • Range : 310 m (Excelsior type B) - 260 m (Excelsior type AB)
  • Elevation range : +10 to +70 degrees
  • Direction range : 45 degrees total range

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